Harnessing simplicity and serenity
Zhongliao, a village near Sanya, is now offering a new option for tourists to visit this renowned seaside resort in South China’s Hainan province, as the Ministry of Agriculture has declared it to be one of “China’s most beautiful villages.”
The title also means a new opportunity for local villagers — mostly Li ethnic people — to make money.
The hope for change was already there when the city government of Sanya began to promote the village as a rustic tourist destination and helped it apply for a position on the ministry’s appraisal list last year.
A project to renovate the village was launched in October 2015, aiming to build basic facilities for receiving tourists.
The project — including the construction of a trail around the village lake, linking the village to nearby highways, and rezoning orchards and farms — was completed in early February 2016, just days before the Spring Festival.
The reshaped village was open to tourists during the Spring Festival, and visitors were welcomed by the lake and ponds brimming with blossoming lotuses, rose gardens and various orchards, local fruits and food, as well as the characteristic hospitality of the Li ethnic people.
The increasing number of tourists has brought growing income to the locals.
A number of catering facilities, inns, restaurants and cafes have sprung up in the village.
There are also some vendors’ stalls for selling local produce at reasonable prices. Eggs, coconuts and sweet potatoes are popular among tourists because they are organic and pollution-free.
Li Yaying, owner of a local restaurant, said her family used to live on planting vegetables and raising pigs and could barely make ends meet, despite the hard work of the whole family.
But she said her newly opened restaurant is expected to bring about a fundamental change.
“During the Sanyuesan Festival (a Li ethnic holiday celebrated on April 9 this year), I earned more than 2,000 yuan ($300) a day,” Li said, adding that the net profit of her business totaled 20,000 yuan since it opened in February.
Fu Chunyu, owner of the InSpring cafe, said he never expected he could make some Tourists
We hope to build our village into a top rural tourism site in Sanya, where locals can have a better life and visitors can enjoy an authentic rustic experience.”
Lin Zeliang, The village’s land
Party chief of Zhongliao village has been rezoned into crop, vegetable and flower farms and orchards to meet the varied demands from tourists.
money just staying at home. He now earns more than 100 yuan a day on average.
Chen Huizhu is a housewife in Zhongliao village. Now she vends coconuts from her own farm.
“I’m glad to do some business here while taking care of my kids,” she said.
Through word-of-mouth, the region’s organic products’ reputation spread to wholesalers in Sanya and beyond. They are coming to the village to talk about cooperation.
For the past year, village leaders have toiled over planning a reasonable path of development for Zhongliao.
They admitted that they are faced with many choices and temptations, but they finally decided to take a balanced approach, highlighting growth while protecting the integrity of the village.
Zhongliao is about 18 kilometers from the city center of Sanya and close to several major highways to the city. The ease of access, excellent environment and beautiful landscapes have made the village especially attractive to real estate developers in recent years.
According to the Party chief of the village, Lin Zeliang, real estate bosses began to contact local officials in 2009, offering to buy or rent land for developing projects that involve multi-million-dollar investments, promising to provide better housing and create more jobs for the villagers.
However, the village officials, as well as the villagers themselves, rejected such proposals.
“Selling out the land means easy money for all,” Lin said, “But we will lose control of the village in the end — the environment and later the people’s livelihood will be at risk.”
Numerous discussions among the villagers and the study of other rural development cases in the rest of the country lead to a consensus: tourism development will be the best approach to ensure sustainable growth of the village.
“We hope to build our village into a top rural tourism site in Sanya, where locals can have a better life and visitors can enjoy an authentic rustic experience with intact countryside landscapes and healthy food,” Lin said. Hoss Vetry,
participate in a local sports event in Zhongliao village of Sanya.
A lot of changes have been taking place in Sanya: the Hongsha Tunnel is open; the highway from Linwang to Sanya has been renovated. What’s more important is that the Sanya River has been better managed than before. Sanya’s ecological recovery campaign has made the city a better place to live. Jimmy Sung, generalmanager HaitangBayResort